Success stories, interviews and blogs

Read about the experiences of some of our apprentices and the people in Hammersmith & Fulham who manage and support them during their apprenticeship.

Jasmine Furmston-Gorman

Intelligence Analyst Apprentice (Trading Standards)

My experience of joining Hammersmith & Fulham Council has been a positive one. Everyone has been very friendly and helpful, and you are treated like a fellow employee from day one. Even when I first started, I could see the work being tasked and undertaken was an important and real part of the job.

I have a line manager who has been through the same course as I am on now, so understands how important it is to have time to complete coursework and makes sure I am assigned work which fits in with my course.”

  • Read more about Jasmine's experiences

    Who are you and what apprenticeship are you on?
    My name is Jasmine, and I am on an apprenticeship to become an intelligence analyst for Trading Standards.

    Why did you apply to be an apprentice within the council?
    I first heard of the course in a job fair and thought it sounded interesting and exactly like the type of thing I wanted to do. The more l investigated the council the more I wanted to work here. The council has a good reputation for career progression and a positive work environment. I wanted a new challenge and a change of career, something that was completely different to anything I have ever done before.

    How was your experience of joining Hammersmith & Fulham Council?
    My experience of joining Hammersmith & Fulham Council has been a positive one. Everyone has been very friendly and helpful, and you are treated like a fellow employee from day one. Even when I first started, I could see the work being tasked and undertaken was an important and real part of the job.

    What have you learned since the start of your apprenticeship?
    My course covers a lot of interesting topics such as temporal and geospatial analysis, entity linking and how to present your work in the best possible way. There are different types of report that need to be completed, and these often require liaison work with other people. Working with other people is not new, but doing it remotely is.

    How do you manage working and learning at the same time?
    As my apprenticeship ties in with my work very well, I often find that the skills I learn in the classroom help me in my work. It is often possible to combine the two which not only means the balancing act is much more manageable, but also that I know my course is relevant and has a purpose.

    What kind of support do you get whilst on your apprenticeship?
    I have a line manager who has been through the same course as I am on now, so understands how important it is to have time to complete coursework and makes sure I am assigned work which fits in with my course.

    What would you say where was the biggest challenges and how did you overcome them?
    The pandemic has created an upheaval in not just the way work is undertaken but in every element of day to day life. Adapting to a home working environment has been tough and required help. Luckily there is a lot of support offered not just from my line managers but from the entire council. Whether it’s IT equipment or mental health support, there were services to empower everyone to adapt.

Tinsay Berhan

Business Administration Apprentice (Corporate Health and Safety)

I had a good experience when joining the council. My interview went well and got a call within a couple days saying I had got the job, which was very exciting. I then went to the office to hand in my documents so they could get me enrolled. It took a couple months to get me started, however once I joined it was fine. I got my equipment pretty much straight away and got settled in quite quickly. Everyone I met was so lovely, the people in my team and my manager were very helpful and were very nice.”

  • Read more about Tinsay's experiences

    Who are you and what apprenticeship are you on?
    My name is Tinsay Berhan and I am doing Business Administration Level 3. Working in corporate Health and Safety.

    Why did you apply to be an apprentice within the council?
    I had heard good things about working for the council from family members and thought it would be a good opportunity and a good place for me to learn and develop.

    How was your experience of joining Hammersmith & Fulham Council? 
    I had a good experience when joining the council. My interview went well and got a call within a couple days saying I had got the job, which was very exciting. I then went to the office to hand in my documents so they could get me enrolled. It took a couple months to get me started, however once I joined it was fine. I got my equipment pretty much straight away and got settled in quite quickly. Everyone I met was so lovely, the people in my team and my manager were very helpful and were very nice. It was Christmas time, so I was invited to my teams Christmas lunch the week after I joined, which was nice, I got to know everyone a little better.

    What have you learned since the start of your apprenticeship?
    I have learned a lot about how the council works and a lot about corporate Health and Safety (which is the team I work for). I have learned a lot of administrative skills as this is my first admin role. I have managed to learn how to create an intranet web page, how to access and retrieve accident and incident stats. I have done a managing safely course, evacuation chair training and I am also a Fire Evacuation Officer.

    How do you manage working and learning at the same time?
    I would manage my time in advance and set aside a time for me to just focus on my learning and I would spread it out throughout the week. I use a diary and I also let my manager know when I need time to focus on my learning.

    What kind of support do you get whilst on your apprenticeship?  
    I get support from my manager; he sets me work to do knowing it will help with my apprenticeship. I also get support from Jack Biggs and Busayo Epega, who work in HR, if I have any queries, I can go to them.

    What would you say where was the biggest challenges and how did you overcome them?
    I have not had many challenges so far as I am not far into my apprenticeship. I would say the biggest challenge was at the start of the pandemic, not knowing what was going to happen to my apprenticeship and the uncertainty when I was told I was having a break from learning. Also, before I was told I was having a break from learning I was doing my learning at home which was difficult.

    Would you recommend an apprenticeship to your friends and family? If so, what advice would you give them?
    I would recommend an apprenticeship at the council. The advice I would give them is to make the most of the opportunity and the networking connections. It is overwhelming at the start, especially if it their first proper job, however they will get the hang of things and to take each day as it comes. I would also tell them to manage their time well, otherwise they will not be able to manage working and learning at the same time.

    What would you like to do next in your career after the apprenticeship?
    After the apprenticeship I would love to get a permanent role within the council, would love to work within children services or social care.

Kamil Janik

Civil Engineering Apprentice (Highways)

I decided on a change of subject after graduating and noticed that this apprenticeship offered many opportunities that my previous degree did not. I have been learning a variety of things about the highways department from my manager and colleagues. Joining was very swift, there was little issue with the recruitment process and despite COVID-19 I have been settling into the highways department.

I have also begun working on Confirm, Profess and drainage maintenance as well as parking suspensions.”

  • Read more about Kamil's experiences

    Who are you and what apprenticeship are you on?
    My name is Kamil Janik and I am on a civil engineering apprenticeship.

    Why did you apply to be an apprentice within the council?
    I decided on a change of subject after graduating and noticed that this apprenticeship offered many opportunities that my previous degree did not.

    How was your experience of joining Hammersmith & Fulham Council?
    Joining was very swift, there was little issue with the recruitment process and despite COVID I have been settling into the Highways department.

    What have you learned since the start of your apprenticeship?
    I have been learning a variety of things about the highways department from my manager and colleagues. I have also begun working on Confirm, Profess and drainage maintenance as well as parking suspensions.

    How do you manage working and learning at the same time?
    My course starts in September/October.

    What kind of support do you get whilst on your apprenticeship?
    I have support from my manager as well as everyone else in the highways team. My manager has regular meetings and conversations with me both in person and on Microsoft Teams.

    What would you say where was the biggest challenges and how did you overcome them?
    The inability to work in an office environment as well as the delay in many projects due to COVID-19 has made it harder to learn things that would have been easier to teach in person. There is also the issue that I do not interact often with some members of the team.

    Would you recommend an apprenticeship to your friends and family? If so, what advice would you give them?
    I would recommend an apprenticeship, as unlike a normal degree which I have already done I feel like I am learning far more applicable skills and knowledge. I have yet to start the university course but since it will only be one day a week, I would advise other people to manage their time wisely. University work carries on outside of the actual lectures, so time needs to be divided between work and study.

    What would you like to do next in your career after the apprenticeship?
    Become a chartered engineer and join the council as a full-time civil engineer.

Sinead Fox

Registration Officer Apprentice, Registrars (Environment)

I would highly recommend an apprenticeship. You gain so many different skills and experiences from the workplace and the course you study. One thing I was surprised at, was the responsibility you are given. The pandemic of COVID-19 has been my biggest challenge so far and management supported me by constantly checking in on my wellbeing.

I would like to stay within the Registration Office field, as doing this apprenticeship has made me realised how much I enjoy doing this job. However, with the qualification I gain, I have the option of trying out other careers within the business admin field as well.”

  • Read more about Sinead's experiences

    Who are you and what apprenticeship are you on?    
    I am Sinéad Fox, a Registration Officer Apprentice, completing a Business Administrator Level 3 Apprenticeship course. As a Registration Officer Apprentice, I have the interesting job of registering local births, marriages and deaths.   

    Why did you apply to be an apprentice within the council? 
    I applied to be an apprentice because I wanted to gain experience in a different workplace environment, an understanding on how the council works, and improve my personal and social skills. Also, I find I prefer more ‘hands on’ and practical approach to learning, which this apprenticeship involves. A perk of doing this apprenticeship is earning a decent wage whilst gaining a respected qualification.

    How was your experience of joining Hammersmith & Fulham Council? 
    My experience with H&F council so far has been fantastic. The high levels of support and communication, from inductions courses to weekly wellbeing sessions, makes working here enjoyable. 

    What have you learned since the start of your apprenticeship?
    Since starting my apprenticeship, I have learnt many new skills, as well as ways to develop my current skill set. It has also helped me set personal goals and a career plan. Once I have completed my apprenticeship, I would have been taught a variety of topics from personal development to the fundamentals of an organisation and business.

    How do you manage working and learning at the same time?
    Organisation and communicate are key to managing the demand of work and academic studying at the same time. At my monthly meetings with my apprenticeship trainer, I set realistic deadlines for studying topics and completing modules. With management at work I discuss and keep them updated on my progress of my studies. This allows them to allocate me the right time and support required. In addition, motivation and support from friends and family are also needed to make it achievable.

    What kind of support do you get whilst on your apprenticeship?  
    With the apprenticeship provider, they offer great online resources that help inspire and support me through my studies. My apprenticeship trainer supports me by having a one to one monthly session with me. This is so we can review and discuss my studies, as well as set me new tasks to complete before our next session. My management and co-workers offer a lot of support as well, from helping me provide evidence for my studies to arranging time aside for me to complete my tasks. The apprenticeship team at the council also provide support by holding monthly meetings with all apprentices within the council. This is great for us to share our ideas and experiences and support each other. 

    What would you say where was the biggest challenges and how did you overcome them?
    The pandemic of COVID-19 has been my biggest challenge so far. This unexpectedly increased my workload and meant my one to one meeting with my trainer had to become virtual instead of face-to-face. Considering it should have been a very stressful time, due to all the support I received I managed through it. Management supported me by constantly checking in on my wellbeing and helped me cope with the demands of work and studying. Another big challenge for me was taking on a job in a field I had never tried before. During my first week I experienced information overload. I was meeting many new people, getting to grips with the new role and environment, and had colleagues explaining what they do whilst using words and software I was not familiar with. With all of this, I realised the most important thing was to listen and ask questions. No question is ever too silly and the more questions you ask, the quicker you understand and learn. 

    Would you recommend an apprenticeship to your friends and family? If so, what advice would you give them?
    I would highly recommend an apprenticeship. You gain so many different skills and experiences from the workplace and the course you study. One thing I was surprised at, was the responsibility you are given. Before doing an apprenticeship, I thought it would be ‘making cups of teas’ and the little jobs, however this is not the case. With the support of the team you become a valued member in the workplace. My advice would be to research, research and research. There are so many different apprenticeships available, covering a wide range of careers. Read into the job descriptions and see what one would suit you most. Also choose one with a qualification that will help you progress with your future career goal.

    What would you like to do next in your career after the apprenticeship?
    I would like to stay within the Registration Office field, as doing this apprenticeship has made me realised how much I enjoy doing this job. However, with the qualification I gain, I have the option of trying out other careers within the business admin field as well.

Busayo Epega

HR Support Apprentice, People and Talent (Resources)

My experience has been really great and my team were extremely welcoming from my very first day. I also got the opportunity to find out the roles and responsibilities of my colleagues and how I can assist them. I have learnt great deal both in terms of technical knowledge.

Upon completing my apprenticeship, I hope to secure a permanent position with the council and begin working my way up to HR Advisor.”

  • Read more about Busayo's experiences

    Who are you and what apprenticeship are you on?
    My name is Busayo, I work in People and Talent currently on the HR Support Level 3 Apprenticeship

    Why did you apply to be an apprentice within the council?
    I had wanted to build a career within my chosen field and felt working for the council would be perfect place to do so. The fact that my commute to the office is only a 15 minute walk from my house is also a bonus 

    How was your experience of joining Hammersmith & Fulham Council?
    Really great, my team were extremely welcoming from my very first day. I also got the opportunity to find out the roles and responsibilities of my colleagues and how I can assist them 

    What have you learned since the start of your apprenticeship?
    That I only need to worry about things that are in my control. As long as I have done my part to ensure a task is complete that is all that matters. 

    How do you manage working and learning at the same time?
    I usually set myself the assigned one day a week where I focus on completing my assignments. Should we become busy and this is not possible, I usually spend my free time completing assignments 

    What kind of support do you get whilst on your apprenticeship?  
    I have weekly 1-2-1 catch ups to discuss focus points for the week ahead as well as areas I could improve on.  Also, if there is anything I am unsure about, there is always someone in hand in my team to help. This is very handy when it comes to completing assignments. 

    What would you say where was the biggest challenges and how did you overcome them?
    Learning how to interpret data and use excel spreadsheets. Figures have never been my strong point so I have had to make I utilise the Learning Zone to brush up my knowledge and take on tasks where I could practice using this knowledge 

    Would you recommend an apprenticeship to your friends and family? If so, what advice would you give them?
    Definitely, I have learnt great deal both in terms of technical knowledge. My best piece of advice would be act like a sponge and soak up everything you learn. 

    What would you like to do next in your career after the apprenticeship?
    Upon completing my apprenticeship, I hope to secure a permanent position with the council and begin working my way up to HR Advisor, then Consultant and eventually become a HR Business Partner.

Maria Pircea

Business Support Apprentice, Business Support Team (Economy)

The biggest challenge for me for that was the first time working in the office and that English is not my first language. I was scared that maybe I will not understand, and I didn’t want to disappoint my manager. I am very thankful that they were very supportive and ensured me not be scared and to ask for help if I need.

I would 100% recommend an apprenticeship to my friends and family. It is a great opportunity where you can earn and learn. You have the chance to grow and build your career.”

  • Read more about Maria's experiences

    Who are you and what apprenticeship are you on?
    My name is Maria Georgiana Pircea and I am currently working on the Business Support apprenticeship for the Economy Department. I’ve started on the 03rd February 2020 and I am also working my way towards becoming a fully qualified Business support officer at the council.

    Why did you apply to be an apprentice within the council?
    Since I’ve moved to London in 2015, I have been working in hospitality, where I’ve gained great customer service. In all this time, I was looking for new opportunities but was not that easy as I was expecting. I have a degree in Political Science and when I spotted the apprenticeship opportunity on the council’s website, I was very happy. I knew is a great opportunity as I live in Shepherd’s Bush and where you earn as you learn.

    How was your experience of joining Hammersmith & Fulham Council?
    I found the hiring process very easy as I was guided by a very supportive HR team, answering all the questions that I had. I was not successful in the first instance, but I had the amazing opportunity to be part of the Talent Pool. When they had a new position available, I only had to do the interview and after couple of days I was informed that I was successful. The hiring process took one month but I was very happy for this opportunity and excited to start.

    What have you learned since the start of your apprenticeship?
    I've learned to be more confident and never give up. I was very lucky to be part of a very supportive team who welcomed me from the first instance. I have learned how the council works, the priorities and how important is to work with the residents to have a prosper borough.  I have learned how to deliver effective support to the Strategic Director for the Economy and Assistant Directors and to set-up supplier, raise purchase orders and approve invoices. I am also working towards my Business Admin Level 3 course.

    How do you manage working and learning at the same time?
    I agreed with my manager one day a week where I only focus on my course. My manager is very supportive, and I manage well doing my work tasks and course. I am getting regular monthly contact with my trainer, all online due to Covid19. We are still at the beginning, doing maths and English and understanding how to build my portfolio. 

    What kind of support do you get whilst on your apprenticeship?
    I am thankful that my manager is very supportive, she is calling me every morning to do a small briefing and to check the tasks that we have for that day. This is helping me to prioritise better because we are working from home. Every month I have the meeting with my trainer, and we have a meeting with all the apprentice, which I think is great because we have the chance to see how my colleagues are doing and how is the course going for them.
    The team is offering me all the support that I need.

    What would you say where was the biggest challenges and how did you overcome them?
    The biggest challenge for me for that was the first time working in the office and that English is not my first language. I was scared that maybe I will not understand, and I didn’t want to disappoint my manager. I am very thankful that they were very supportive and ensured me not be scared and to ask for help if I need.

    Would you recommend an apprenticeship to your friends and family? If so, what advice would you give them?
    100% yes. It is a great opportunity where you can earn and learn. You have the chance to grow and build your career. My advice is to keep trying if they are not successful in the first instance.

    What would you like to do next in your career after the apprenticeship?
    After the apprenticeship, I hope to get my Level 3 Business Admin and maybe I will have the chance to continue to grow and working for the council.

Elleanne Nicolaou-Jones

Business Support Apprentice, WorkZone Team (Economy)

Making sure I stay motivated to complete my course work; work can become quite intense and busy which can make you want to postpone doing course work. It’s important to stay motivated and keep the end goal in site which is gaining a qualification.”

  • Read more about Elle's experiences

    Who are you and what apprenticeship are you on?
    My name is Elle and I’m undertaking a Level 3 Business Administration Apprenticeship in the council’s job brokerage team WorkZone.

    Why did you apply to be an apprentice within the council?
    I wanted to start a career in administration, however I only had a small amount of experience and no qualifications in the sector. When I came across the H&F apprenticeships, I was eager to apply for the apprenticeship as I would be able to gain real life experience as well as a qualification, creating better chances of me securing a full-time job in my chosen career.

    How was your experience of joining Hammersmith & Fulham Council?
    The application process was easy and straightforward relieving some of the stress that comes with filling out large application forms.
    On joining the council everyone was very warm and welcoming and helped me settle into my apprenticeship quickly. 

    What have you learned since the start of your apprenticeship?
    I have learnt how to be more organised and prioritise my work load along with being more confident and independent. 
     
    How do you manage working and learning at the same time?
    Myself and manager agreed that at the beginning of each week I will go through my calendar and book out slots for me to do my course work, this makes everyone else in my team aware that I’m unavailable during these times. 

    What kind of support do you get whilst on your apprenticeship?
    I receive support from all of my colleagues, they help me with my day to day tasks as well as my apprenticeship work.
    My assessor supports me via email and telephone when I need support and helping with my course work.
    A member of the council from a different department has been allocated as my mentor, we speak once a month and they help me with my professional growth. 

    What would you say where was the biggest challenges and how did you overcome them?
    Making sure I stay motivated to complete my course work; work can become quite intense and busy which can make you want to postpone doing course work. It’s important to stay motivated and keep the end goal in site which is gaining a qualification. 

    Would you recommend an apprenticeship to your friends and family? If so, what advice would you give them?
    I would recommend an apprenticeship to family and friends as it is a great way to meet people, network a gain experience as well as a qualification.
    I would advise people thinking about an apprenticeship to be organised stay focused and take advantage of all the opportunities that are available to them.

    What would you like to do next in your career after the apprenticeship?
    I have really enjoyed working in the council’s job brokerage team, supporting and helping residents into employment. I hope to continue my career in the job brokerage sector and become a full-time job brokerage officer.

Numi Bubabunmi

Data Analyst Apprentice, Business Intelligence Unit (Finance)

Having worked here at London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham (LBHF) as a volunteer for four months, when I saw there was an opportunity for employment and development here as an apprentice, I was excited about joining a team that works with data on a wider perspective and transforms lives by utilising data analysis which can help make a difference in society.”

  • Read more about Numi's experiences

    Who are you and what apprenticeship are you on? 
    Hi, my name is Numi Bababunmi. I am currently on the Data Analysis apprenticeship scheme with APM Project Management qualification in the Business Intelligence Team at H&F. 

    Why did you apply to be an apprentice within the council? 
    I was in and out of work and seeking some stability within my career.
    Having worked here at London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham (LBHF) as a volunteer for four months, when I saw there was an opportunity for employment and development here as an apprentice, I was excited about joining a team that works with data on a wider perspective and transforms lives by utilising data analysis which can help make a difference in society. I relished the opportunity to work for an organisation where I believe that I can contribute to the council’s services and the society as well as fulfil my potential as a Data Analyst.
    I was also impressed with the organisations mission statement, culture and values especially with the services that LBHF provides. I believe LBHF would help me develop my career in the right direction and give me the opportunity to be part of an organisation that strives to solve problems for its residents.
    At first, I was not entirely sure if this was what I wanted especially taking into consideration the pay grade, however I was looking for a position that would give me ‘hands on’ industry experience and the chance to train and develop whilst working.

    How was your experience of joining Hammersmith & Fulham Council?
    It has been an amazing experience. My colleagues have been helpful and welcoming throughout my stay here at the council and it has also been a huge experience to work here due to diversity of people you interact with everyday.

    What have you learned since the start of your apprenticeship? 
    I have learnt a lot during the time of my apprenticeship and greatly expanded my profession as well as personal skills. I am not sure where to start from to be honest. I have built up my confidence, presentation skills, learnt a lot about how and what the council does and how to communicate with different levels of staff, gained a lot of skills that are transferable to other lines of work. I have also wider developed my technical skills and learnt how to gather, store and stans form data with accordance to the guidance and data protections laws as well as extract information and present those to various audiences and stake holders in the most appropriate manner.

    How do you manage working and learning at the same time? 
    It’s difficult, especially because I graduated from university 15 years ago, so having to work and study at the same time has been a bit tough especially when you have other responsibilities however with the support, guidance and advice from my colleagues, training officers and commitment from my line managers,  I have managed to maintain a balance with studying and work.

    What kind of support do you get whilst on your apprenticeship?  
    Mentoring, I have regular one to ones with my line manager and on-going training on some of the tools that we utilise within the team. My team works in the agile way and follows scrum network which ensures a close collaboration between members of the team and solution-based approach to problems. Every fortnight we share what we have learnt and how we can further improve our products, processes and teamwork. 

    What would you say where was the biggest challenges and how did you overcome them?
    I have never worked in central government before: everything was new to me. So, I have had to learn so much about the work we do for schools, children services, education and adult services has been tough, it has been quite challenging however it’s been worth it and very rewarding. It is quite fascinating to see how all these processes run and join together for the benefit of the local community and wider society.

    Would you recommend an apprenticeship to your friends and family? If so, what advice would you give them? 

    1. Do not think about your age and the salary benefits, sometimes in life you have to go back to drawing board and start afresh again, just look at it as an experience and potential to learn.
    2. Unfortunately, you do have to make some sacrifices, but life is all about challenges and learning.
    3. Take it as an opportunity to build up skills that include team working, how to communicate, display empathy, organisational skills, time management, project management etc. There are not many jobs out there especially in the private sector that would allow you the opportunity to learn and work at the same time.
    4. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, everyone in your team is there to help you out.


    What would you like to do next in your career after the apprenticeship?
    I really enjoyed working at Hammersmith & Fulham. Hopefully stay with the council and build a rewarding career as a Business Intelligence Analyst or look out for other avenues where I can apply the skills that I have picked up here.